Stranded Storm chaser nearly hit by Texas tornado 

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HEADER PHOTO CREDIT: TORNADO TRACKERS

“What a terrifying situation to be in. This occurred on this day in 2017.”

Jamie Simms, Discover Tornadoes website lead

Tornado Trackers’ Gabe Cox was the chaser involved. Watch the moment a stranded storm chaser was nearly hit by a large rain-wrapped tornado in Canton, Texas in the video below. 

The eye-opening footage in the above video was captured by Cox and (presumably) the other crew members of Tornado Tracks (Jeff Mangum, Jeremy Hamann). You can read the description for the YouTube uploaded video below. 

“After total loss of data and communication from a phone failure, our team members Gabe Cox became stuck in the mud while retreating from the first Canton, TX tornado.” 

Tornado Trackers

You can read Cox’s detailed account of the situation below: 

“Yesterday was pure hell. After my phone malfunctioned and I lost all information mid-chase, my car slid into a ditch during an effort to get as far away from an approaching EF-4 rain-wrapped tornado as I could. I nearly got the car back out, when it slid deeper into the ditch and sunk in for good. 

Going by the last radar image I saw, I knew I was very near the path of the tornado and, I assumed, in it. There were no places to run to, so I prepared for the worst. I composed myself enough to make a goodbye video to my wife and girls, set my camera on my dashboard, curled up in the seat, and prayed to spared. 

In the vide you can see the leading edge of the tornado passing ahead of me about 1/4 mile down the road before becoming completely wrapped in rain. The tornado was now at its widest point, nearly a mile wide. Debris was falling around me and he wind was picking up fast. After the longest minute of my life, I realised it had missed me. 

About fifteen minutes later and whilst a second large tornado was passing to the east of me, I was pulled out by a neighbour, Alberto, who I will forever be grateful for. My chase partner yesterday was driving in a separate vehicle and had driven in the direction of the damage path to blast west of it just before we lost communication. 

When I drove in the direction I last saw him go, still unable to call anyone, I came across pure destruction. I spent the next hour frantically searching the damage path, thoroughly convinced I was going to find his vehicle mangled on the side of the road.

First responders hadn’t gotten there yet. I came across houses completely blow apart, bloodied people wondering dazed through the neighbourhood and injured cows and horses running wild through the streets. I could hear dying animals crying out from underneath debris. I was able to help a few folks out before determining the only way to make sure my chase partner was alive was to find internet and use my computer to communicate. 

I hope back in my car and after 2 hours of driving, while fearing I was leaving his body behind, and while a third confirmed tornado was near my new location, I finally made contact and found out he was fine. At this point the full emotions of the past 4 hours hit and I nearly lost it in the gas station parking lot. 

What started as frustrating inconvenience with having my phone die turned into 4 hours of hell. I am beyond grateful to be alive to know my dear friend is okay, and that I get to go back home and see my wife and girls. My heart goes out to Canton and the families who lost loved ones [yesterday]. Please be praying for that community.”

The tornado in the above video occurred on the 29th April, 2017. More videos of the 2017 deadly tornado can be found below. 

As mentioned above, The tornado was rated EF-4 (with estimated peak wind speeds of 180 miles per hour). The length of this tornado’s path was almost 22 miles, according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, TX.

RELATED: Polaris tossed into the air by tornado in Orange, Texas 

Stay tuned to Discover Tornadoes for more tornado news, information, and more. 

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